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CII moots Rs 1000 crore investment in WB health sector

Senior officials of the state health department have underscored the surge in government investments in Bengal’s health sector in recent years and the expansion of infrastructure to ensure better medical care.

“The government has improved primary healthcare to a large extent across the
state. For secondary and tertiary healthcare, it is necessary to work in collaboration with private partners to gain similar efficiency. For the residents of Bengal, the government invested around Rs 2,600 crore in Swasthya Sathi last year,” N.S. Nigam, the principal secretary of the state health department, said on Friday.

He was speaking at the North Bengal Health Conclave organised by the NB zonal council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the state health department here.

Swasthya Sathi is the free health insurance scheme provided by the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.

Senior officials of the state health department have underscored the surge in government investments in Bengal’s health sector in recent years and the expansion of infrastructure to ensure better medical care.

“The government has improved primary healthcare to a large extent across the
state. For secondary and tertiary healthcare, it is necessary to work in collaboration with private partners to gain similar efficiency. For the residents of Bengal, the government invested around Rs 2,600 crore in Swasthya Sathi last year,” N.S. Nigam, the principal secretary of the state health department, said on Friday.

He was speaking at the North Bengal Health Conclave organised by the NB zonal council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the state health department here.

Swasthya Sathi is the free health insurance scheme provided by the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.

Y. Ratnakara Rao, the additional secretary of the department, said significant progress had been made by the state government in the past decade.

“The public health budget was Rs 3,584 crore in 2011. It has increased to Rs 19,471 crore in the current fiscal, which means a rise of around 443 per cent. Bengal has emerged as a healthcare investment hub because we have introduced an online single window portal system, fair price medicine shops, schemes for approved industrial parks (SAIP), and well-designed public-private partnership modules,” said Rai.

According to him, manufacturing of medical devices, pharmaceutical warehousing and logistics, medical tourism, medical technology, yoga, and naturopathy are some of the focus areas in north Bengal where private investments can be made.

“The Union health ministry has awarded the state for having the second highest number of telemedicine consultations in the country,” the official added.

Representatives of the CII said investment proposals worth around Rs 1,000 crore were mooted at the conclave. Around 400 people from eight districts of north Bengal had congregated at the event.

“The investment would be made in north Bengal by prominent private companies. We are also giving impetus to areas like health education and health tourism as these sectors have huge potential in this region. Also, fresh investments will generate employment here,” said Pradip Agarwal, the chairman of the CII North Bengal. Telegraph India

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